Minerals rights in an oil and gas lease differ from surface rights. A landowner may own the surface land but not the mineral rights of that land. The owner of the land should check on whether he/she has ownership of mineral rights or title on the land.
One of the places to check on real ownership is through an independent landman or a bank. The landowner can also use an abstract company. Whoever is the one contacted to perform a mineral title is then empowered to obtain an ownership report or mineral takeoff.
The owner of the land, in order to legally negotiate with an oil and gas production company, has to know whether they have clear title to the mineral rights of that land. In many cases, the mineral rights are separated from the surface rights.
After the landowner has received a report of the land's mineral rights and who holds those rights, then the owner can discuss and negotiate in good faith with any oil and gas production company.
Only the mineral right owner may execute an oil or gas lease conveying his interest to the production company.
Surface rights and ownership of land is when the mineral rights have been detached. The surface rights owner can have the full use of the land; however, surface possession is subject to the mineral rights owner's right of extracting the minerals.